As of July 2 the police, in contravention of legal provisions, had still not formally notified Luo Dacui, the wife of Zhou Zhenglong, of her husband's arrest. Some lawyers said they doubt the legality of the procedures used to arrest Zhou but no official explanation has been provided.
A policeman displays a photograph of the endangered South China tiger "shot" by farmer Zhou Zhenglong during a press conference announcing the result of an investigation into the photograph after it was proved fake in Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province June 29, 2008.
Zhou Zhenglong, a 52-year-old farmer, hit the headlines in October 2007 when he claimed to have photographed a wild South China tiger, previously thought to be extinct. The photographs were initially accepted as genuine, but doubts were raised after Internet users claimed to detect signs that the images had been digitally altered.
Why was Zhou's wife not notified of his arrest as required by law?
On July 2, Luo Dacui still had no idea yet where her husband was being held in custody. She only discovered from a TV program on June 29 that he had been arrested on suspicion of fraud.
That morning, Bai Shaokang, spokesman for the Shaanxi Provincial Public Security Bureau, said that on June 28 the procuratorate had approved the arrest of Zhou Zhenglong on suspicion of fraud. He said that according to the law, the public security bureau must immediately implement arrests approved by the procuratorate.
But Article 71 of the Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China states: Within 24 hours of an arrest, the family of the arrested person or the unit to which he belongs shall be notified of the reasons for the arrest and the place of custody, except in circumstances where such notification would hinder the investigation or there is no way of notifying them.
When exactly was he detained?
Luo Dacui should have received notice of her husband's arrest on June 29, including the reasons for the arrest and where he was being held; in fact, she eventually found out from the media that her husband had been arrested for fraud and was being held in a detention center in Ankang City.
The Beijing Times asked the Shaanxi Provincial Public Security Bureau whether Luo Dacui was not notified because the public security organ thought notifying her would hinder the investigation, but the bureau either could not, or would not, give an explanation.